Religion vs. Science
Religion and science have evoked controversial views among scholars since the classical period. Looking at the history of the United States, there is immense conflict between the place of science and that of religion in the country. Up to date religion and science in all the domains of life represent a notable quintessential dilemma of the contemporary epoch (McCall, 2009). Serving in the United States army I have had a tough time trying to bridge the gap between religion and science. The US army has the responsibility of protecting the country from external aggression especially the war against terrorism. It should be understood that the US military has a special unit of US army chaplain corps. The unit is anticipated to offer moral and religious support to the military personnel as well as their families. The US army advocates the essence of free exercise particularly in religion whereby all the members of the military need guidance about their religious faith including those that do not hold any faith. The chaplains cater for the religious needs of soldiers that are affiliated to religions, the atheist as well as agnostics. The moral justification of the chaplain corps is that they help promote the religious, moral and spiritual health of the soldiers (Nason-Clark, 2011). Over 75% of soldiers upon deployment portray religious affiliation.
However, as an army soldier, I have always found religious discords conflicting with the tasks and operations assigned to the military personnel. For instance the religion advocates for the severe punishment if a believer is involved in a murder case. In some operations soldiers are forced to shoot to kill innocent people. Especially in the fight against terrorism, it is difficult to distinguish between the militia and the innocent citizens. The citizens hide the criminal in their midst and since these criminals have to be eliminated these innocent citizens at times succumb to the bullet. It is at times ridiculous for chaplains to preach to the soldiers in the evils of killing. The kind of trauma that soldiers undergo especially in war zones is so intense that what they need is medical attention and not necessarily religion. Evidently, most soldiers drop their religious preferences once they encounter the rough and traumatic experiences. It should be understood that the population of atheist is more than the Christian soldiers.
Science is the knowledge behind all the technology that facilitates my daily operations as a soldier. The kinds of armaments that we use to protect America from external aggression are developed courtesy of scientific innovation. This means that without science the sophistication of the armaments and all the resources used in the military would not be possible. This is important for my safety and survival as a soldier in the army. The military training and techniques are also based on science. Scientific innovation has enabled me conquer my enemies in all the operations that I have undertaken so far.
At the same time religion has served a major purpose for my survival in the US army. The chaplain usually goes beyond the spiritual matters to offer counseling services. It is worth noting that after military operations or even after retirement most us army soldiers end up succumbing to post traumatic stress disorder and in same case the condition is so severe that the soldier never recovers his or her health status completely. I think that irrespective of the soldiers religious preferences counseling services are highly critical. However I presume that the spiritual matters should be closed tied with mental counseling. Counseling should occupy the larger part of the prestigious roles bestowed upon the chaplain. My suggestion is that the military needs to deploy counselors instead of chaplain trained to deal with spiritual matters alone. A disturbed and stressed mind cannot even be in a position to uphold the religious views that an individual embraces. Therefore the most important thing is to have counseling and then spiritual matter should follow. However, though not always at times I find it comforting to listen to spiritual readings or benedictions after undergoing stressful moments. Notably most of the events undertaken by the US army kick off with intercessions and benedictions.
If the leading influence was changed from science to religion soldiers would become more religious and would be haunted a lot by the things that they do as part of their mandate. Soldiers have to kill for peace to prevail. Nobody is comfortable shooting and killing people even if they are criminals. Religion would even lead to resignation of many soldiers since religious views will haunt the actions of the soldier. At the same time if leading influence in the US army is changed from religion to science, humanity is likely to be separated from the soldiers. This means that science without religion corrupts the mind and thoughts of an individual. As such the soldiers may even turn inhuman and violate the rights of the citizens since the moral aspect that governs the soul is not there at all.
McCall, B. (2009). The Constant Fire: Beyond the Science vs. Religion Debate – By Adam Frank. Reviews In Religion & Theology, 16(4), 586-587. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9418.2009.00441_7.x
Nason-Clark, N. (2011). Science vs. Religion: What Scientists Really Think. Sociology Of Religion, 72(4), 490-491. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/socrel/srr059